- Crypto surges as court ruling paves the way for first Bitcoin ETF.
- Elon Musk’s X obtains licence needed for adding crypto payments.
- BTC Markets in Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Forkast, and Chainsaw.
- Australian inflation eases, bolstering case for policy pause.
- Aussie retail sales surged by 0.5% in July, surpassing expectations.
- U.S. job openings declined to their lowest point in over two years.
- Fed Chair Powell states inflation is too high, further rate rises ahead.
BTC Markets in the news
Forbes: Elon Musk’s X platform obtains the licence needed for adding crypto payments.
Elon Musk, the Tesla billionaire who took Twitter private last year and rebranded it X as part of a plan to make it into an "everything app," could be plotting a major "PayPal update," according to a leak last week. It now appears that on August 28th, X was granted a currency transmitter license by Rhode Island regulators, giving the company the ability to custody, transfer and exchange Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets, told Forbes:
"The news of Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter), obtaining a license to facilitate U.S. crypto payments amplifies the ongoing transformation of the crypto landscape. Endorsements from prominent figures like Musk lend credibility to the sector and hold implications for international markets."
Read the full article here.
The Chainsaw: Why are the prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum up?
The price of Bitcoin and Ethereum surged on Tuesday. So why is Bitcoin's price going up and why is Ethereum following that same trajectory? As it happens, the price surge comes after a favourable ruling from a US court for Grayscale Investments.
Regarding the federal court’s decision, BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler told The Chainsaw:
“It is important to clarify it is not a ruling in favour of converting its fund into a Spot Bitcoin ETF, as some might have anticipated. Instead, the presiding judge granted Grayscale’s petition for review and simultaneously vacated the commission’s order. This development underscores the complexity of regulatory dynamics in the crypto space, where legal battles can shape the path of innovative financial instruments.”
“The escalating involvement of these well-established financial entities highlights the growing demand for cryptocurrencies. As global markets stride forward with institutional adoption and regulatory clarity, it is crucial for Australia to stay with the pace."
“Adopting responsive regulations can leverage blockchain and cryptocurrencies while managing risks. As Australia charts its course, aligning regulations with innovation is crucial to stay competitive globally.”
Read the full article here.
BTC Markets announcements
BTC Markets partners with SYLA, offering a crypto tax solution for Australians.
SYLA's integration streamlines crypto taxation and optimises CGT outcomes. It supports SMSF entities and provides ATO-compliant reports for various account types. Users can access a 30% discount on SYLA subscriptions through BTCMSAVETAX code.
Read all about our collaboration here.
For more information, visit the Syla website.
To learn more about our tax reporting process, visit our tax help page.
State of crypto
Grayscale's recent legal victory against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alongside Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter), obtaining a license to facilitate U.S. crypto payments saw a market wide rally in crypto. Bitcoin saw a price pump of 7.74% during Tuesdays trading session, closing with a respectable 6.12% gain, after 10 days of sideways action, following the flash crash on August 17th. Bitcoin pushed as high as US$28,142 but has been unable to hold above that level. The total crypto market cap responded positively to the news gaining 4.78% on the day, with a spike up to US$1.098T.
Announcements by global institutional players, such as Blackrock, Fidelity Digital Assets, Charles Schwab, and Citadel Securities, signifies a notable shift towards the widespread acceptance of digital assets as an investment class. The escalating involvement of these well-established financial entities highlights the growing demand for cryptocurrencies.
As the trading week ended on Monday*, Bitcoin (BTC) consolidated, closed at US$26,101.77, reflecting a decrease of 0.34%. Meanwhile, Ethereum (ETH) also experienced a decline of 1.60%, reaching a closing price of US$1,658.33. XRP exhibited the most substantial loss among the top cryptocurrencies, though it maintained a position above the psychological threshold of 50 US cents, closing at US$0.5263, down by 2.75%. On a positive note, Litecoin (LTC) managed to secure a 0.21% gain, ending at US$65.39, while Cardano (ADA) faced a decline, closing the week at US$0.2634, marking a decrease of 2.55%.
In terms of market capitalisation, Bitcoin made a modest recovery, advancing by 0.27% and concluding the week with 49.14% dominance. However, the overall cryptocurrency market capitalisation experienced a contraction of 0.62%, reaching US$1.034 trillion by the week's end.
Taking a broader view of the year-to-date** performance, Bitcoin maintains the lead with a noteworthy 67.63% increase. XRP, once the leader, has seen its advantage diminish to a 58.45% gain. Ethereum follows closely with a 44.63% rise, and Cardano remains positive with a 10.41% increase. Conversely, Litecoin has slipped into negative territory, with a decline of 2.25% over the course of the year.
*The weekly trading stats as of Monday, August 28th at 10:00 am AEST, based on data from Tradingview in USD.
**Year-to-date performance as of Thursday August 31st at 10:00 am AEST, based on data from Tradingview.
The week ahead: upcoming economic events
August 31st: China’s NBS Manufacturing PMI. Year-on-year Inflation Rate releases for the Euro Area, France and Italy. India’s GDP Growth Rate year-on-year. United States' Core PCE Price Index, Personal Income and Personal Spending month-on-month.
September 1st: China's NBS Manufacturing PMI. United States’ Payrolls and Unemployment Rate.
September 2nd: United States’ ISM Manufacturing PMI.
September 4th: Germany’s Balance of Trade.
September 5th: Reserve Bank of Australia’s Interest Rate Decision.
September 6th: Australia’s GDP Growth Rate quarter-on quarter.
September 7th: Australia’s Balance of Trade. United States’ ISM Services PMI.
Grayscale CEO predicts a crypto environment ‘we haven’t seen before’ after legal win.
Grayscale Investments CEO Michael Sonnenshein predicted that the stage is now set for "an environment around crypto that we haven’t seen before" after what he called an "overwhelming victory" this week over the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington said Tuesday the SEC was "arbitrary and capricious" when it denied an application from Grayscale to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin trust (GBTC) into a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
Sonnenshein told Yahoo Finance he is encouraged that the recent legal decisions combined with some movement in Washington around legislating the crypto world will provide momentum for the industry.
The decision could bolster the chances for other asset managers to win approval for their Bitcoin products. The world’s largest money manager, BlackRock, filed paperwork with the SEC in June to create a spot Bitcoin ETF. This ruling from the federal appeals court only requires the SEC to review Grayscale's application, not to approve it. The SEC has said it is reviewing the decision and has until mid-October to request a re-hearing of the case.
What the Grayscale court ruling on spot Bitcoin ETF means for crypto.
Grayscale moved closer to launching a spot-based Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US after a three-judge appeals panel overturned a decision by the SEC to block it. Fractal co-founder and co-CEO Aya Kantorovich joins Ed Ludlow and Caroline Hyde to discuss this potential watershed moment for the crypto industry on Bloomberg Technology.
London-based Jacobi's crypto ETF brings ESG label into Bitcoin.
Earlier this month, Europe launched its first spot Bitcoin ETF on Euronext Amsterdam under the ticker BCOIN. Jacobi has now attached an ESG label to its ETF. ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. This label helps enhance transparency related to sustainable investment products. Martin Bednall, the CEO of Jacobi, contended that the ETF will be “fully decarbonised.”
“Never before have the EU’s environmental, social, and governance investing rules been applied to an ETF whose primary goal is to let investors speculate on the value of Bitcoin.”
According to Bednall, by purchasing the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Jacobi will be supporting enough renewable energy projects to make up for the greenhouse gas emissions of the energy used to mine the Bitcoin tracked by the ETF.
However, environmentalists are sceptical. Anders Bjørn, the lead author of a 2022 article on RECs published in Nature Climate Change, said,
“[The decarbonisation claim] is only credible if Jacobi Asset Management can show that their purchasing of RECs causes an equivalent amount of renewable energy to be generated. That seems highly unlikely, as the company purchases unbundled RECs to match the electricity consumption from Bitcoin mining.”
Bednall said he was aware of all the flip sides, but the firm chose to tread on the REC path only after weighing all other available options. He added,
“RECs were preferred over offsets, as the most material part of our carbon footprint is in relation to the electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network.”
- Inflation eases beyond expectations, bolstering case for extended RBA policy pause.
- Retail sales surged by 0.5% in July, surpassing expectations.
- Incoming RBA Governor Bullock cautions coal-fired power plant closures could impact inflation.
- Aussie dollar rebounded to US64.27¢ due to China's minor stimulus.
Australia's monthly inflation gauge showed a larger-than-expected easing, reinforcing the argument for the Reserve Bank (RBA) to continue its policy pause at the upcoming meeting. The consumer price indicator rose by 4.9% in July from a year ago, below economists' projection of 5.2%. The data, reflecting global trends, marks the third consecutive slowdown, aligning with the RBA's expectation of inflation returning to its 2-3% target by late 2025. This information suggests that the central bank might extend its policy of not tightening. The outcome led to a decrease in currency and government bond yields, signalling market confidence in the RBA's stance.
Incoming Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock has cautioned that the closure of coal-fired power plants without adequate renewable generation and storage capacity could lead to higher energy prices. The investment required to meet Australia's net-zero emissions target by 2050 might also push inflation higher. Bullock warned that a lack of investment in alternative generation capacity could pose a significant risk to the Australian economy. Despite recent progress in reducing inflation, Bullock did not rule out further interest rate hikes if necessary to reach the RBA's inflation target. She highlighted the need to focus on inflation and implementing RBA review recommendations.
In July, Australia's month-on-month retail sales surged by 0.5%, surpassing expectations, and recovering from June's decline, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Australian dollar rebounded to US64.27¢ due to China's minor stimulus, reducing stock trading stamp duty, and planning affordable housing. China's gradual approach to its property crisis concerns investors.
China's economic issues concern Australia due to deflation, falling exports, and rising unemployment, risking Australian jobs and growth. Treasurer Jim Chalmers is concerned about China's weak retail and property sectors. Australia's Treasury expects flat growth, while ANZ forecasts modest retail, construction growth, and 0.8% consumer price index rise due to power prices.
- U.S. job openings declined to their lowest point in over two years.
- Fed Chair Powell states inflation is too high, indicating further rate rises ahead.
- Economic concerns in China intensify as doubt spreads among share market investors.
- Japan’s unemployment rate increases, raising concerns for wages and the BOJ.
- German inflation showed a minor decline in August.
- ECB President Christine Lagarde avoids stance on upcoming interest rate decision.
In July, U.S. job openings declined to their lowest point in over two years, typically seen as negative news for the broader market. However, this decline was interpreted as an end to the prolonged maintenance of higher interest rates by Federal Reserve officials in response to a tight labour market. Which caused the DXY to drop and a broader market rally. Layoffs remained constant reflecting employers' endeavours to retain their workforce amidst challenges in labour recruitment post-pandemic. Noteworthy, quits decreased, possibly impacting wage growth and inflation dynamics.
In his recent speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the importance of interest rate adjustments for managing inflation while upholding economic stability. Simultaneously, U.S. business equipment orders experienced moderate growth in July amid economic uncertainties and elevated borrowing costs, indicating cautious decisions regarding capital investments.
Economic concerns in China intensify as doubt spreads among share market investors regarding the effectiveness of policy initiatives. Despite an initial surge, the CSI 300 index pulled back following a reduction in stamp duty on share transactions by authorities. This move is met with uncertainty about its potential impact on the real estate sector.
The transition toward consumer-driven growth faces obstacles due to President Xi Jinping's reservations, as he prioritises cutting-edge industries over establishing comprehensive social safety nets. The hesitance to implement substantial economic changes worsens the risk of contagion from a property market decline to challenges within the shadow banking sector. The crackdown on the private sector contributes to rising youth unemployment and a growing sense of disillusionment, giving rise to dissatisfaction in the wider community.
Japan's unemployment rate saw its first rise in four months during July, accompanied by a slight decline in a labour demand indicator. These signals are unsettling for both the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the government. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported a rise in the jobless rate to 2.7% from June, contrary to economists' expectations of it remaining at 2.5%. This development holds significance for Japan's wage dynamics and the policy considerations of the BOJ and government.
In an unexpected turn, Japan's consumer confidence index dropped in August 2023 from the preceding month's 19-month peak. This figure fell below market expectations, whilst the sentiment among households weakened across all components, including income growth, employment, overall livelihood, and willingness to purchase durable goods.
German inflation showed a minor decline in August, whilst consumer prices rose by 6.4% year-on-year, just slightly lower than July's 6.5%. The core inflation rate, excluding volatile items, remained steady at 5.5%. Despite the slight dip, Eurozone inflation is expected to remain higher than anticipated. This data could influence the European Central Bank's (ECB) decision on a potential 25 basis points rate hike at their upcoming September meeting. The ECB aims to gauge whether underlying inflation has shifted. Despite external cost pressures easing, service prices' rise due to increased wage growth might maintain core inflation above the ECB's 2% target.
Germany's Consumer Climate Index fell in September, reflecting worsened income expectations, rising food and energy costs, and weak economic indicators. August saw income expectations drop by 6.4 points to -11.5, impacted by higher prices despite milder July inflation. The propensity-to-buy indicator fell due to inflationary pressures and rising costs. Germany's Q3 outlook is marked by growing pessimism. The IFO Business Climate Index for August hit 85.7, below the anticipated 86.7, signalling prolonged economic challenges.
European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde refrained from taking a clear position on the upcoming interest rate decision, which would mark the tenth consecutive time, during her speech at the Jackson Hole retreat. While some colleagues advocate for restraint in continued rate hikes, Lagarde stressed anchoring inflation expectations at 2%, without confirming a rate hike or pause. This differs from her predecessor, Mario Draghi, who made policy announcements at Jackson Hole. Lagarde's approach aims for consensus-building rather than unilateral decisions. Lagarde highlighted data-dependent decisions due to the complexity of interpreting economic indicators.
Euro-area economic confidence fell more than expected, with the European Commission's sentiment gauge declining in July, the fourth consecutive drop and below forecasts. Declines in services, industry, and consumer expectations sub-indicators were observed. Weak third-quarter indicators, including PMIs signalling potential contraction, raise debates among dovish and hawkish ECB policymakers regarding the September 14 interest-rate decision, considering persistent inflation pressures.
The Big 3
Crypto surges as court ruling paves way for first Bitcoin ETF.
In the crypto space, Grayscale's legal victory allows a Bitcoin ETF, offering access to everyday investors. Converting the ETF could unlock value for Grayscale's US$16.2 billion trust. Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust surged 21% whilst Bitcoin rose 8.3%.
The SEC rejected Grayscale’s conversion proposal in 2022, arguing that an ETF based on Bitcoin lacked adequate oversight to detect fraud. Grayscale sued to overturn the decision accusing the SEC of discriminating against its product, while approving similar Bitcoin futures ETFs.
During a hearing on the case in March, the judges grilled the SEC about its decision and seemed to side with Grayscale’s argument that the underlying markets for spot Bitcoin and Bitcoin futures pose the same risk for fraud and manipulation.
The SEC's challenges over its crypto stance add to digital asset momentum. Grayscale's win could reshape crypto investments and affect finance giants seeking Bitcoin ETFs, arguing SEC's denial was arbitrary, akin to approved futures ETFs.
Buy Bitcoin on BTC Markets.
Ethereum experiences highest whale activity in months amidst price drop.
Over the last week, Ethereum (ETH) has seen its price take a slight hit following the general market crash due to reports of a massive Bitcoin sell-off.
According to data from CoinMarketCap, ETH is down by 5.01% in the last seven days, bringing its total price loss in the previous month to 10.80%. However, despite Ethereum’s negative performance, the on-chain analytics platform, Santiment, has noted some positive developments in terms of whale activity.
On Thursday, August 24, Santiment posted a report on X (formerly Twitter) stating that Ethereum has recorded its largest level of whale transactions in the last 16 weeks. According to the blockchain intelligence firm, there has been a notable increase in transactions by addresses with large ETH holdings following the token’s fall beneath the US$1,650 price mark last week.
Santiment reported that Ethereum experienced 23,073 ETH whale transactions in the past week, marking the network’s highest since May 4. In addition, the report also stated that the number of wallets with 10-10,000 ETH had surged by 1,788 since the start of June, returning this metric to the previous high of 355,000.
Based on Santiment’s report, it seems that the decline in ETH’s price has led to a buying spree by large investors anticipating a price surge and taking advantage of the current market dip. As smaller investors have been selling their ETH holdings for fear of a further price drop, ten of the largest wallets have picked up that Ethereum, and now they overall hold 35% of all ETH available in circulation.
Buy ETH now on BTC Markets.
XRP price surges more than 6% in value following the recent court decision.
Several XRP transactions that make up an impressive total amount of close to half a billion XRP - have been spotted by the popular crypto tracking service Whale Alert over the period of the last 24 hours. Ripple Labs took an active part in this, transferring part of this massive crypto stash as it moved 31 million XRP to an anonymous wallet address.
Thirty-one million XRP is equivalent to US$16,530,182, and Ripple transferred it to a wallet marked by Whale Alert as "unknown." Still, details provided by the XRP-focused platform Bithomp show that this anonymous wallet also belongs to Ripple Labs.
The company often transfers several tens of millions of XRP to crypto exchanges to sell crypto for fiat to cover its operational expenses or send XRP to its customers, banks and various other financial institutions. Often, Ripple also makes large XRP transactions to support its ODL platforms.
XRP has seen a significant surge, gaining more than 6% in value following the recent court decision in the Grayscale v. SEC case over a spot Bitcoin ETF. This decision has had a ripple effect on the cryptocurrency market, particularly benefiting XRP.
While it is too early to predict the long-term impact of these legal battles on XRP or the broader cryptocurrency market, the immediate effect has been undeniably positive. Investors are advised to keep a close eye on the SEC's appeal regarding XRP.
Buy XRP now on BTC Markets.
Judge dismisses class-action suit against Uniswap over token scam losses.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed a class-action suit against Uniswap Labs and its CEO, foundation and venture capital backers brought by plaintiffs who claimed they lost money due to scam tokens on the decentralised cryptocurrency exchange. Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who handed down the dismissal, is also hearing the Securities and Exchange Commission’s case against Coinbase.
The suit was brought by six individuals who bought tokens on Uniswap between December 2020 and March 2022. They argued on behalf of a “nationwide class of users” that Uniswap Labs controlled liquidity pools on the protocol, including those created by the scammers they lost money to.
The suit was filed in April 2022. The defendants were demanding the recission of the (smart) contracts they entered into to buy the scam tokens, with compensation, under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The judge said in her order that neither side knew the identities of the scammers, and in place of suing the scammers for unlawful solicitation, the plaintiffs were suing the defendants for statements made on social media:
“[I]t defies logic that a drafter of computer code underlying a particular software platform could be liable under Section 29(b) [of the Exchange Act] for a third-party’s misuse of that platform.”
Judge Failla cited the unsuccessful class action brought against Coinbase in 2022 for unregulated securities sales in her reasoning and dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning the case cannot be retried. Community commenters noted with pleasure that the decision showed a considerable depth of understanding of decentralised finance.
UNI is currently trading at AU$7.27.
Australia’s crypto priorities: regulation, disclosures and education.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has nominated crypto-assets and the design and distribution obligations (DDO) for fund managers as two compliance priorities over the coming four-year period.
Released on August 28th, the ASIC Corporate Plan 2023-27 has stated it will continue to take action to protect Australian investors from the risks inherent with crypto assets.
The regulator identified six distinct areas of action on which it will focus, including consulting with Treasury to develop a framework to protect consumers and scrutinising target market determinations and product disclosure statements about retail clients.
ASIC pointed out the importance of educating people about crypto and outlined a series of actions it intends to implement to tackle crypto scams within Australia. Top of the list was crypto regulations, a similar priority for many countries around the world, noting:
“Supporting the development of an effective regulatory framework focused on consumer protection and market integrity following the consultation by Treasury.”
ASIC also notes that it will scrutinise crypto product disclosure statements. The regulator declares it will act against those that provide misleading promotions of high-risk investments. It also intends to target firms that fail to disclose appropriate risks. Further, ASIC said it is:
“taking enforcement action to protect consumers from harms associated with crypto assets, including those that mimic traditional products but seek to circumvent regulation, and offerings within our jurisdiction that involve misleading promotion of high-risk investments or inadequate risk disclosures”.
Protecting yourself from fake crypto giveaway scams.
In our ongoing series of articles aimed at ensuring our clients remain aware and informed of ongoing cryptocurrency scams, we turn our attention to a growing concern that has recently gained prominence: fake giveaway scams. It’s crucial to be well-informed and vigilant against potential threats. In this section we shed light on the intricacies of giveaway scams and offer insights on safeguarding your assets.
Beware of impersonators
In a digital era marked by innovation and boundless connectivity, we find ourselves exposed to both the opportunities and challenges that come with such progress. The advent of social media has enabled instant interaction with influential figures, celebrities, and prominent organisations. Unfortunately, it has also provided an avenue for malicious actors to exploit the trust we place in these entities.
Giveaway scams operate by impersonating these celebrity figures, often promising the allure of free cryptocurrency in return for participation. The perpetrators skillfully mimic the personas of well-known individuals or organisations, using their legitimacy to lend credibility to their fraudulent schemes. Such tactics prey on our natural inclination to believe and trust in the voices we recognise.
A mirage of abundance
The promise of free cryptocurrency can be enticing, particularly within a space where the potential for financial gain is widely acknowledged. These scams capitalise on our desire to seize opportunities, leading victims to believe they are on the cusp of an abundant windfall. However, a key principle to remember is that legitimate giveaways are a rarity, and any request for cryptocurrency as a prerequisite for receiving more is a red flag. Scammers often pressure victims to act swiftly, creating a sense of urgency that clouds judgment and rational thinking.
Protecting your assets
To shield yourself from giveaway scams, there are essential precautions that every cryptocurrency enthusiast should heed:
- Verify the source: Always double-check the authenticity of the social media account or communication channel. Genuine accounts are often verified with a blue or gold checkmark, and reputable figures usually share information through official websites or trusted platforms.
- Question promises: Be sceptical of promises that seem too good to be true. Authentic giveaways seldom require recipients to make an upfront payment, nor do they guarantee returns on investment.
- Independently validate: Seek information from multiple sources. Cross-reference the details of the giveaway with reliable news outlets or official announcements.
- Stay informed: Regularly educate yourself about the evolving tactics scammers employ. Awareness is a powerful defence against falling victim to their schemes.
- Report suspicious activity: If you encounter any suspicious giveaway offers, promptly report them to the appropriate social media platform or relevant authorities. Your vigilance can prevent others from becoming victims.
We remain committed to your well-being and understanding and will continue to provide insights that empower you to make informed choices. With each challenge that arises, we strive to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to thrive in this ever-evolving environment. Stay cautious and stay informed.
ASIC provides a checklist of common scams and ways to avoid them. To learn more, visit ASIC’s website.
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Prices are accurate as of 10:00 AM AEST, on 31/08/2023.